If you're a Nissan luxury loyalist who's unwilling to make the move to the premium Infiniti brand, the Maxima packs the maximum upscale punch, a full-size sedan positioned as one of the most performance-oriented cars in its class.
Last redesigned in 2016, the Maxima gets a number of changes to its trim and option structure for 2018, including the elimination of a base S trim that introduced just last year. That change brings with it a $2,600 jump in the car's base price, though that extra dough includes the forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking active safety features that are now standard across the range, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration platforms also new to the list of standard kit.
With the Maxima, Nissan competes for buyers with cars like the Ford Taurus SHO and V8-powered versions of the Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300. Other cars in this class -- like the Toyota Avalon, Chevrolet Impala and Buick LaCrosse -- tend toward the laid-back end of the sedan spectrum.
Canadian trims now start with the SV grade and run up through SL, SR and Platinum. Of those, the SR is the sportiest thanks to its firmer suspension and stiffer stabilizer bars.
Otherwise, all Maxima trims share their mechanicals, including a 3.5L V6 engine that makes 300 hp and 261 lb-ft of torque, power that's fed to the front wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission.
Standard kit includes 18-inch wheels, fog lights, 7.0-inch infotainment display with navigation, backup camera, front and rear parking sensors, dual-zone automatic climate control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, passive keyless entry, power adjustable and heated front seats, heated steering wheel, leather upholstery and an eight-speaker stereo.
SL trim adds a dual-panel panoramic sunroof, radar cruise control and an 11-speaker stereo.
SR boasts 19-inch wheels, LED headlights, ventilated front seats, diamond-quilted leather upholstery. This trim deletes the SL's sunroof.
Platinum reverts to 18-inch wheels and gains back the sunroof, and further adds auto tilt-down side mirrors, auto-dimming driver's side mirror, 360-degree exterior camera system, intelligent driver alertness, power-adjustable steering column, power rear window sunshade and mahogany wood trim.
Fuel consumption estimates are 11.1/7.8 L/100 km (city/highway).